My Voice: My Identity

ABOUT SPEAK:UNIQUE

A University of Edinburgh project
Creating personalised digital voices for communication aids, simply and efficiently.

Giving Voice

When speech becomes impaired people may come to rely on “Augmentative and Alternative Communication” (AAC) to get their message across. AAC can range from using simple strategies such as gestures, through to voice output communication aids (VOCA) that generate synthetic speech from text or symbols inputted on a keyboard or via an eye-tracking system.

However, many people complain that the synthetic voices pre-installed in these devices can’t reflect their identity. People often have to choose from a limited selection of voices, of which only a couple might be from the same country as them, let alone representative of their own regional accent.

It may have never previously occurred to you, but our voices are as unique as our walk, our eyes and even our fingerprints. A person’s voice is an essential component of his or her identity.

Voicebanking

The ultimate ambition of this research project is for people to be able to use communication aids that speak for them in their own voice. This multidisciplinary project is a team effort, with clinical researchers from the Euan MacDonald Centre for Motor Neurone Disease Research working with speech scientists at the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Speech Technology Research.

Our Team

Phillipa Rewaj
Phillipa Rewaj
Research Speech and Language Therapist – Clinical Project Lead
Simon King
Simon King
Principal Investigator (Informatics)
Siddharthan Chandran
Siddharthan Chandran
Chief Investigator
Junichi Yamagishi
Junichi Yamagishi
Principal Investigator (Informatics)
Christophe Veaux
Christophe Veaux
Research Associate (Informatics)
Shuna Colville
Shuna Colville
Clinical Project Manager
Laura Sherlock
Laura Sherlock
Project Assistant
Wei Guo
Wei Guo
Software Developer

Donors Get in touch

Check if we need your accent.
We are now gathering volunteer healthy donor voices with a range of regional accents. This is to build up our bank of voices, which are then merged and edited digitally. We need adult voices of all ages.

To be eligible:
  • You must be over 16
  • Be a native speaker of English
  • Not have any reading or speech difficulties
  • Be able to travel to our recording studio in Edinburgh
PLEASE NOTE THIS FORM IS FOR DONOR REGISTRATION ONLY. IF YOU ARE ENQUIRING ABOUT VOICE CREATION, OR FOR ANY OTHER ENQUIRIES, PLEASE CONTACT INFO@SPEAKUNIQUE.ORG
Title (Mr, Mrs...)
First name
Last name
Email
Phone number (optional)

Would you prefer to be contacted by email or phone?

Age range

Gender

 Female Male
Occupation
Area where spent most of life until the age of 18
Please select your area
Please select your accent
Please select your accent
Please select your accent
Please select your accent
Please select your accent
Please select your accent country

Specify Regional Accent

To help us with the recordings have you ever had / do you have any of the following conditions? (optional)

 Parkinson's Motor Neurone Disease Multiple Sclerosis Stroke Vocal issues

How did you hear about Speak Unique?


Data Protection Act
All information is held by the University and will be treated confidentially and with sensitivity. Your details will be used for the purposes of the Voicebank project only. Under the terms of the 1998 Data Protection Act you have the right to object to the use of your details for any purpose at any time. If you wish to change your details or how we contact you, or wish to request a copy of the information we hold about you, please email info@speakunique.org, call us on (0131) 465 9500 or write to us at Voicebank Project, University of Edinburgh, Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic, Chancellor's Building, 49 Little France Crescent, Edinburgh EH16 4SB.

Alternatively, please contact us via telephone to discuss any questions you may have.